Obtaining a Patent
In the United States, a patent is obtained on an invention only after a patent application is
filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent application is a complex document
that is both highly technical and very legalistic. Some have called the art of patent drafting
one of the most difficult tasks in the U.S. legal system. After the application is filed, and
after a short wait (usually between twelve and twenty-four months), a patent examiner will
evaluate the application to see if the application meets the requirements for patentability.
If not, the examiner will reject the application in an office action. The applicant is allowed
to amend their application and file arguments in response to the office action (the process of
interacting with the examiner is called "prosecuting" the patent application). If the examiner
is convinced, the application will be allowed and the patent will issue upon the payment of an
issue fee. Overall, one should expect to spend between $10,000 and $25,000 to obtain a patent
in the United States.
A detailed discussion on the process for obtaining a patent in the
United States is set forth in the following pages: